Wins for Spies and Haga at Magny-Cours as Ducati take 16th Manufacturers` crown

Title contenders Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) scored a win apiece in the penultimate round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Superbike in front of a record 81,000 spectators at Magny-Cours but it is the Japanese rider who now has the advantage in the points table. The Texan dominated race 1 but Nitro-Nori responded in the second encounter with a lights-to-flag victory, as Spies was unable to go any higher than fourth. Ten points now separate the two as the series heads for its final round in Portugal in three weeks time. Max Biaggi scored two more podium finishes for Aprilia Racing, a third and a second, Jonathan Rea grabbed a third for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, while Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) had an off day.
Race 1
Spies and Haga predictably set the first race alight as they fought for the win. At the flag it was the Texan who took the maximum points with his 13th win of the season after leading from the start, but he was made to fight for it by his Japanese rival right until the very end. Haga was the quickest man on the track at the end but paid the price of a slow start and being held up behind Biaggi for too long, thus losing touch with Spies. The Italian did take the final podium slot however, confirming the RSV4`s competitiveness also at the French circuit. Fourth place went to Fabrizio, who lost touch with the leading group in the early stages, losing out on any chance of the podium. Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing) was the leading Honda man to the finish with a positive fifth place, ahead of the Hannspree Ten Kate machine of Carlos Checa. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) had a good run in seventh, the Japanese rider finishing ahead of Shane Byrne (Ducati Sterilgarda) and the BMW of Troy Corser. Jonathan Rea had a technical problem and was out on lap 7, and another problem also brought a halt to the debut race for Leon Camier (Aprilia Racing).
Race 2
Haga made amends in the second race, the Ducati Xerox man dominating almost from the start to the finish after a much better start. Haga got the better of Biaggi on the opening lap and then held the pace right until the end for his eighth win of the season. Spies this time could only struggle to fourth after encountering tyre problems. Biaggi had a great scrap with Rea for second, while Haslam put in another solid performance to take his Stiggy Racing Honda to another fifth. The two Suzukis went quite well at the French circuit, with both riders finishing in the top 10, Yukio Kagayama sixth and Karl Muggeridge eighth, but BMW could only bring their men home in tenth (Corser) and twelfth (Xaus). Fabrizio had another rather unconvincing run, the Italian crashing out while trying to pass Byrne and then remounting to finish in thirteenth place.

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